Written by DukeEngage volunteer, Julie Rohde
Yesterday was a successful day at Phillip’s Creek removing litter from a site that was planted earlier in the year. Our volunteers conquered the area while competing to find the neatest piece of litter. Interestingly, we came across many children’s toys that were most likely from the neighboring apartment buildings. We found a dinosaur pillow, G.I. Joe army figurine, a blow torch, and a plethora of candy rappers. After an exciting two hours of picking up litter we had filled 5 of the white SOLVE beach cleanup bags.
Litter cleanups can be exciting when you come across big objects but it is important to realize that the smaller plastic pieces, cigarette butts, and plastic bags are more harmful to our ecosystems. When these pieces of litter enter our watersheds, marine animals can mistake the litter for food sources. These objects make the animal feel full but do not provide any nutritional value. One way to eliminate a lot of the plastic that reaches our streams is to buy reusable containers and to focus on alternatives to disposable goods. Something that I like to do is to avoid using straws and plastic lids because it will decrease the amount of material that I throw away. As a society we should make a conscious effort to buy less and reuse more. If every person does their part to reduce, reuse, and recycle, our watersheds will benefit greatly.